21 Nov Your Dog’s Bloodwork
This tesing is a vital component of preventative care for your dog. The goal of this testing is to attempt to identify internal disease — for example in the liver or kidneys — before it is causing disease that we can outwordly see. When disease is detected early, we can attempt to slow or sometimes even reverse the progression of disease.
Below is an explanation of the blood work values that are usually evaluated:
Complete Blood Count
Red Blood Cell Count: Measures the total number of red blood cells per volume of blood. It is used to detec anemia along with a value called the hematocrit. The hematocrit is given as a percentage and indicate the percentage of the total blood that the red blood cells account for (the rest of the blood is made up of serum, white blood cells and proteins).
White Blood Cells: Play a major a major role in your dog’s immune system function. Normal baseline levels are very important to determine the importance of changes seen with infection or inflammation.
Platelets: Crucial components of the blood clotting system. Adequate numbers must be present to stop bleeding.
Alanin Aminotransferase (ALT): Increased enzymes may be a sign oif liver damage or disease.
Alkaline Phosphatose (ALKP): Increases may indicate a liver abnormality, Cushing’s disease or active bone growth in young puppies. Elevated enzymes can also be seen with certain medications or non specific conditions.
Asparate Aminotransferase (AST): Increase may indicate liver, heart or skeletal muscle damage.
Gamma Glutamyl Transferase (GGT): An enzyme that indicates liver disease or corticosteroid excess.
Total Bilirubin (TBIL): Increases may indicate liver dysfunction or destruction of red blood cells.
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN): Made by the liver and removed from the body through the kidneys, this helps evaluate for diseases of both organs.
Creatinine (CRea): An important value to monitor kidney function.
Calcium (Ca): Deviations can be seen with a variety of diseases including tumors, hormonal disorders and kidney disease.
Chloride (Cl): Changes may be seen with vomiting or hormonal diseases.
Potassium: Potassium levels are important for normal muscle function and heart rate.
Sodium: Sodium Levels are important for body fluid balance.
Albumin (Alb): Low levels can indicate liver, kidney or intestinal disease.
Globulin (Glob): A body protein that indicates problems such as infection or infalammation.
Total Protein: This level is important in determining potential causes of anemia and diseases of the liver, kidney and intestines.
Glucose: Elevated levels can indicate problems such as diabetes. Low levels can be associated with liver disease and pancreatic tumors and sepsis.
Cholesterol: Changes may be associated with liver or hormonal disease.
Triglycerides: These are fats within the blood. Elevations may put a pet at risk for pancreatitis or diabetes.
Creatinine Kinase (CPK): Elevations indicate muscle damage.
Pancreatic Specific Lipase (PSL): Elevations may indicate the presence of pancreatitis.
Adapted and reprinted with permission from Clyde Park Veterinary Clinic